Pvt. Daniel Boothe, MCB Camp Pendleton

Hill praises 9th Circuit Pledge ruling

American Legion National Commander Clarence E. Hill characterized Thursday's ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is constitutional as "a great victory for common sense."

In a separate ruling yesterday, the Court also upheld the use of the national motto "In God We Trust" on coins and currency.

"The American Legion was very critical, in fact outraged, when the same Court ruled in 2002 that the pledge was unconstitutional because of a phrase that has existed in the pledge since 1954," Hill said. "But it is time to give credit where it is due. The Ninth Circuit corrected its earlier mistake and now there is absolutely no reason why schools across the nation should not lead their students in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every day."

The latest ruling answers the call of a resolution unanimously passed by delegates at The American Legion's 90th National Convention in 2008 that stated, "That The American Legion reiterate its continuing support for the Pledge of Allegiance in its current form, voicing opposition to any and all attempts to revise it beyond the version approved by Congress in 1954."

The California atheist who filed the complaint said he would appeal the ruling, a move that would once again put him at odds with The American Legion, which has filed numerous "friend of the court" briefs in support of the pledge.

"While this was an important victory in protecting American values, the pledge isn't the only great American institution under attack," Hill said. "Since 1989 it has been legal to desecrate the flag of the United States. The American Legion calls on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that will allow Congress to protect the flag from desecration. Now that the pledge is legally protected, let's show Old Glory the same respect."

Hill also compared attacks on the pledge to legal attacks being waged by the ACLU and other groups against veterans memorials that they deem "religious."

"During this session the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case dealing with the constitutionality of a cross in the Mojave desert, which was erected as a war memorial," Hill said. "We hope that the U.S. Supreme Court rules that these are symbols of patriotism and not the establishment of a state religion. The vast majority of the American people are not offended by references to God. There is no reason why our legal system should be."


  1. The American Legion is doing harm to itself by taking sides on religious matters. Like Wanda said, Veterans are not uniformly religious.
  2. I do not beleive the Legion should support or not support the contents of the Pledge. If it is stricken by the Supreme Court, then would the Legion switch it's view or be supportive of an illegal act? The Legion should be in support of current and former military member efforts. We did not serve for Christian, Muslim, or Atheist causes, we served for our Country.
  3. What does this have to do with the American Legion? Veterans are not uniformly religious - it's not required to serve in the military or to be a good citizen. The American Legion should be about promoting patriotism and service, not fighting battles about religious issues that aren't important. I think the Pledge was fine before the fools in Congress changed it in 1954, and I don't care that it says "under God" now -- if saying a pledge is what it takes to make you a patriot, then you're not much of one. I'm an atheist, a veteran and a patriot. I'm tired of having the leadership of groups that I support with my money and time denigrating my religious beliefs and lying that this is a "Christian" country. The only reason I stay in the American Legion is that my local post is such a strong supporter of veterans and isn't involved in these silly arguments.
  4. First Wanda, thank you for your Service. You state that you are an atheist, which is fine for you. Atheism, is the lack thereof or no belief in God whatsoever! So you have no religion. If you worship the devil, you can't call that a religion! This country has been founded on principles of God and Country! Virtually every State's own preamble include a reference to God as well as all our Government's Buildings, doctrine's and some designs! Take a look at this, draw a line from the US Capitol Building to the Jefferson Memorial then draw a line from the White House to the Washington Monument. The two lines form a cross! You don't think this is by design! The Legion is just fighting for what is traditional and good for America! Especially since the overwhelming majority of America has some sort of Pro God beliefs! And please don't be two-faced! If you don't want your"religious beliefs" denigrated, what gives you the right to denigrate ours?!
  5. Years ago people came to America for a better life. They abide by the laws of the land and learned to speak English in order to converse with others. The laws were written and established by our forefathers. If a man or woman comes to this country and saying the pledge is against their beliefs, then they should go back to their country. This is a christian country established with God in everything we do. To the Atheist and others like him, I say, return to your country and by chance you are American, then conform your life to the American way
  6. "This is a christian country established with God in everything we do." We have a lot of Christians in the United States, but it is not a "Christian" nation. No where in the Constitution is there a mention of the word "god." There is a separation of Church and State and it should remain that way. BTW, mentioning god on the money or in the pledge does not bother me in the least. Making laws or preventing medical research on the belief of someone's imaginary friend does.
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